John Ellicott (1706-1772) was one of the finest clockmakers of the 18th Century. The son of a clockmaker, also John, Ellicott took premises in Sweetings Alley, near the Royal Exchange, circa 1728. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1738, serving on its council for three years. He was friend to the globemaker John Senex and the astronomer John Hadley, and had an observatory at his home in Hackney. In 1760 he was joined in business by his son Edward and in 1762 he was appointed Clockmaker to the King.
The distinctive revolving moon at the top of the present clock may be compared with one on a walnut musical table clock by Ellicott sold from the property of a gentleman, Christie's London, 13 December 2000, lot 101 (£80,750). Flaming urn finials and caryatid mounts can be seen on cases by a number of clockmakers during this period but the inset foliate cast scroll feet are typically 'Ellicott'. All of these features are to be found on a mahogany quarter-chiming clock sold Christie's London, 1 July 2008, lot 38 and also on an ebonised quarter-chiming clock sold Christie's South Kensington 18 December 2002, lot 525.
Sophisticated astronomical dial work such as on the present clock is rarely found on English 18th Century table clocks.